Here’s my welcome letter for the IR13.0 program(me):
I have always considered 13 a lucky number, and I feel particularly lucky that we have the opportunity to come back to the United Kingdom for IR13.0.
I recently moved to a new house, and in the process ran across a T-shirt from the first IR conference I attended in Minneapolis a dozen years ago. At the time I was a graduate student in communication, and while there were a few faculty members and other students in my home department who were quickly trying to come to grips with what the internet might mean for our field of study, we were certainly not a program that focused on the internet in particular. It was a wonderful experience to come to a conference and not only meet a group of scholars who were reading the same things I was and thinking about many of the same problems, but to encounter theoretical approaches and practical methods of inquiry that were unfamiliar.
Twelve years covers a lot of ground in “Internet Time” and today it is hard to find a disciplinary conference that doesn’t have a crowd of people looking at the social and cultural effects of networked information technologies. But it remains difficult to think of another conference that attracts such a significant number of the most influential scholars in our field. Just as importantly, you will find that the Internet Research conference opens its arms to students and other newcomers to our field, and remains at a scale that–while large–still encourages the kinds of real conversations that make great conferences great.
I hope you will find time to talk to some of the many volunteers who have helped this year’s conference happen, including the members of the conference committee: Ben Light, Feona Attwood, and Lori Kendall. (Michael Zimmer is with us in spirit.) It takes a lot of volunteers to make this work each year, and I want to thank the volunteers here in Salford, the editorial committees, the awards committees, and the many reviewers who have helped us get here. And finally, I would like to thank our sponsors–both those who have been with us for many years, and those who are new to us in Salford.
I always come home from an Internet Research conference with more ideas than I know what to do with. Coming to a conference with that as an expectation is a high bar for success, but one that I hope we meet for as many attendees this year as we have in past years.